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Landlord Plans 4-Story Apartment on Roof of Historic District Building

By Katie Honan | February 12, 2015 3:19pm | Updated on February 13, 2015 5:31pm
 The owner of a strip of stores on 37th Avenue applied to build on Dec. 30.
Application Filed for Rooftop Addition in Jackson Heights Landmark District
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JACKSON HEIGHTS — The owner of a building in Jackson Height''s historic district has filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build on top of his ground floor shops, according to city records.

Charlie Patel, who owns 84-11 through 84-23 37th Ave., applied for the change on Dec. 30, including a "rooftop extension" and replacement of windows and doors, according to the agency. 

In 2011, the owners of the strip of stores next to Patel's began the hearing process to build a six-story apartment building on top of a strip of stores that had been gutted in 2010 by a fire.

The apartment building opened last year.

Since the building is in the neighborhood's historic district and landmarked, all construction work must get approval from the city agency.

Permits with the Department of Buildings have not yet been filed for the project, but his lawyer, Howard Weiss, said the plan is to renovate the existing stores and build a four-story apartment.

"It would basically be an enlargement to add four stories to the building, to maintain the existing structure and to bring back its historical elements," he said.

It wont be as large as the adjacent apartment building on 37th Avenue, and the project has different challenges, he said.

"The building next door was a ground-up construction. We have
different challenges architecturally in terms of doing the enlargement and still trying to maintain the fabric of the historic district," Weiss said.

The design will maintain the history of the district with a "modern" look, he said.

"The architect is doing something more of a contemporary expression," he said. 

The will present their proposal to Community Board 3 in a special meeting on Feb. 25, and should go in front of the LPC in April, he said. 

The fate of the seven stores on 37th Avenue, including Kelly's Cleaners, the Jackson Heights Furniture Shop and Value Fabrics, is not clear.

The owner of Kelly's Cleaners, Alex Chin, said he's on a month-to-month lease and is not sure what's going to happen to his business, which he's owned for seven years.

"We can stay here month to month until they get permits," he said of his shop at 84-11 37th Ave. "There is no lease."

But Alberto Sosa, who owns Jackson Heights Furniture at 84-15 37th Ave., said he has a three year lease and hasn't heard any plans for construction. 

Patel did not immediately comment.